Although the term ‘pop-up shop’ was coined, and the concept popularised, in the 2000s, there’s a longer history than that when it comes to temporary retail-like stores (Mother’s Day candle stalls in shopping centre thoroughfares have been around for what feels like forever, and exactly when did Bunnings start spruiking sausages?)
A pop-up retail store is a perfect midpoint for a product-based business – no long leases, no need to shift a certain amount of stock for the sake of space, plus the opportunity to meet customers face-to-face. But, even then, it’s not as streamlined as it could be – wrangling the landlords of an empty space can take a lot of investment, both of finances and of time. This New York-based start-up has noticed and created a business to help.
Read More: How To Open The Perfect Pop-up Store
Bulletin, the self-dubbed “WeWork of retail spaces” currently operates in two New York locations – Manhattan’s SoHo and Williamsburg, as well as the Market Stall extension – and gives businesses access to selling space with month-by-month rental fees, full say over the stock to be sold, product display, and pricing.
Co-founders Alana Branston and Ali Kriegsman – who originally secured US$20,000 from Y Combinator for their venture – also believe the quick access to customer reach is important especially with ‘trending’ products that rely on particular cultural currency in order to sell. Their ‘Bulletin Broads’ range, sold in the Williamsburg outpost is the perfect example – feminist pins and T-shirts reach customers quicker and therefore those businesses, who are selected as part of the Broads program to feature 30 female-led brands both making products for and about women, can keep a sense of timeliness with their creations before ideas go stale.
Unsurprisingly, both co-founders eschew the idea of a full retail decline and instead point out the difference between a store that just sells products and a store that sells an experience, noting Apple as an example.
“[Customers] get to have a place where they can sit and tell their story to shoppers,” Ali told Racked. “We try to do the best we can with product descriptions and editorial content online, but when a designer talks to you about the product, it totally changes it.”
We’d say the latest round of seed funding, which came in at US$2.2 million, confirms the fact that retail is indeed not dead – or even dying.